Italian Design Tour
After an excellent flight the ‘Fashion Pack’ student group of A Level Fashion and Textiles and Product Design Textiles and 3D students arrived at Milan Malpensa. They were greeted by their host families and were whisked away to enjoy their first night of Italian hospitality.
Day One began at our partner school Enrico Tosi in the Lombardy town of Busto Arsizio, which has been a major centre for textile production over many years. The girls worked in small groups to research a selected Italian Fashion designer and to create a presentation on that designer, their brand identity and iconic status in the design world. In the afternoon we were lucky to enjoy a walk in the warm sunshine as we made our way to the Museum of Textiles in Busto.
Day two was all about Fashion! The group headed into central Milan by train. On arriving at the famous Galleria the students then walked around the Fashion District of Via Montenapoloeone and Via Manzoni. From there they travelled by Metro to the Armani Silos. This is a superb exhibition of over a 1000 products created by the world famous Italian designer, Gorgio Armani, a truly impressive and memorable experience. From there the group returned to the centre of Milan and then back to the Fashion district for a tour of the world famous school of Fashion design, the Marangoni Fashion Institute.
On day three the group were joined by all of their Italian hosts on a second visit to Milan. This time the visit was focused on Arts and Culture followed by some serious retail therapy. After arriving in the Cordonna station, the group made their way on foot to the main square where the gothic spires of the Duomo and the covered roof of the Galleria Vittorio were enjoyed by all. The first venue of interest to the group was the world famous opera house Teatro La Scala. The group then travelled on foot to the Pinocoteca De Brera Art gallery and University of Art & Design. The gallery is home to famous art work by Mantegna, Caravaggio, Raphael, Canaletto, Modigliani and others.
A slightly relaxed day four was spent with host families. The majority of the group spent the day visiting Arona on the shore of Lake Maggiore. The others went to Stressa also on Lake Maggiore. A few were lucky enough to go by boat to the Borromeo islands to enjoy the palaces and gardens in the glorious Italian sunshine.
Day five and the group travelled by coach to Como. The first stop was the luxury fabric and award winning manufacturer, Canepa, still a family owned business. Both the curator and conservationist spoke to the students about their work. The company employ over 200 digital designers and the group visited the design room to see the original artwork painted out and then the digital modifications carried out to develop the designs for print production. The group then went into the centre of Como to enjoy the streets, the Cathedral and excellent ice cream!
After a walk around the side of the lake the students visited the Ratti Fondazione set in a beautiful villa still owned by the Ratti family. An outstanding archive collected by Mr Ratti, a very important Italian Textile manufacturer who had collected fabrics dating from the very earliest Coptic Textiles. The Curator, Francina Chiara took the students through a ‘Made in Italy’ tour of textiles from the 15th Century Renaissance Italy and finishing with work by the ‘Prince of Prints’, Emilio Pucci.
Finally day six was spent at the school. During the morning the students continued working in the groups from day one and finished their presentations on key Italian Fashion designers. After lunch they worked on creating three dimensional fashion from brightly coloured crepe paper. Much fun was had while generating their products which were then show cased at the end and a winner selected. The Invicta group had also been asked to complete a watercolour postcard which would be posted back to the UK to create a ‘Postcard’ from Italy exhibit and a winner was decided. The postcards were excellent and the winner was Summer Burchell, the best sketchbook prizes went to runner up Shubbie Olutogunpolu and winner, Katy Barton and the best recording of the overall trip went to Isabel Williamson.
There were lots of tears and joy as the group said their goodbyes to their hosts and boarded the coach to return to Malpensa airport. Eve Grundy was met by her parents at the airport for a wonderful surprise for her 18th birthday as she was going to be able to stay on in Milan while the rest of the group sadly had to fly home.